UNIFIL ACCUSED OF PROVIDING ISRAELI INTELLIGENCE TO HIZBULLAH
15:09 Aug 27, '06 / 3 Elul 5766
by Hillel Fendel
The officially-neutral UN peacekeeping force posted, on its website,
information about Israel's
troop deployments in Lebanon - but nothing
UNIFIL (UN Interim Force
in Lebanon), the neutral force that has been stationed there since 1978,
is tasked with maintaining peace between Israel
and Hizbullah along the 70-mile Israeli-Lebanese border. However, as columnist and ZOA Philadelphia
chapter President Lori Lowenthal Marcus writes in the Weekly Standard this week, it appears that UNIFIL took a clearly one-sided
stand in favor of Hizbullah during the recent war in Lebanon.
UNIFIL "openly published daily real-time intelligence, of obvious usefulness to Hizbullah, on the location, equipment,
and force structure of Israeli troops in Lebanon,"
Marcus wrote, "even specifying the placement of IDF safety structures within hours of their construction."
nothing specific regarding Hizbullah's terrorist forces was ever posted. Instead, only general statements such as one to the
effect that Hizbullah "fired rockets in large numbers from various locations" were published.
As an example, UNIFIL
posted the following on July 25: "Yesterday and during last night, the IDF moved significant reinforcements, including a number
of tanks, armored personnel carriers, bulldozers and infantry, to the area of Marun Al Ras inside Lebanese territory. The
IDF advanced from that area north toward Bint Jubayl, and south towards Yarun."
UNIFIL has been implicated before in
partiality towards Hizbullah. Just 18 hours after the kidnapping of three IDF soldiers along the Israeli-Lebanese border in
late 2000, UNIFIL troops videoed two cars that were used in the abduction and that were filled with blood and other kidnapping-related
evidence. Though the videos may have helped save one or more of the soldiers' lives, high-ranking U.N. officials, including
Secretary General Kofi Annan and Middle East envoy Terje Larsen, denied that any such videotape
existed. Only on July 6, 2001 did the U.N. finally admit that it possessed the tape.
Meanwhile, efforts to build a
new UNIFIL force to help the Lebanese Army deploy in southern Lebanon
instead of Hizbullah met with some success on Friday. European nations pledged up to 7,000 troops - nearly half of the 15,000
soldiers called for by the ceasefire, UN Resolution 1701. UNIFIL currently has just under 2,000 troops. The largest force
- 3,000 soldiers - is to come from Italy, followed by 2,000 from France. The Italian troops could arrive this week, followed
within two weeks by the French.
Other countries that said they would send troops include Spain
(1,000-1,200), Poland (300, with 200 already in UNIFIL), Belgium, and Finland.
Three Islamic countries with no diplomatic relations with Israel - Malaysia (whose president has made harshly anti-Semitic speeches), Bangladesh
and Indonesia - have offered to participate in UNIFIL, though Israel has expressed its reservations.
Despite Israel's request, UNIFIL peacekeepers will not be stationed along the Lebanese-Syrian border
to prevent arms smuggling to Hizbullah unless Beirut specifically
requests it. This was decided at the UN-sponsored meeting on Friday.